Vanderbilt Survives Florida, 61-58

NASHVILLE-- Alex Gordon sent the team from his home state home unhappy on Saturday afternoon by hitting four free throws in the final minute to give the Commodores a 61-58 win over the Florida Gators. "I just knew I was going to make them," Gordon said. "My teammates, they got with me. They told me to go to the line and win the game for us. Fortunately, I was able to knock them down for us."

The Commodores came out of the gate hot just like they did against Kentucky on Tuesday night. Seniors Shan Foster and Ross Neltner made threes on back to back possessions to give the Commodores an early 6-0 lead. The Gators would respond with a 6-0 run of their own that was capped by a Walter Hodge layup.

Vanderbilt found themselves trailing 26-23 after Nick Calathes hit a layup with just 35 seconds left to go in first half. Andre Walker answered on the other end by getting his own rebound and laying the ball in as time expired in the first half to cut the Florida lead to one heading into the intermission.

The Commodores mounted a 13-3 run midway through the second half to build a 52-40 lead with 7:16 left to go. Unfortunately for the Commodores the three pointer that Walker hit with 7:16 left was the last field goal they would make on the day. Vanderbilt Coach Kevin Stallings had this to say about his team's scoring drought, "I thought both teams missed quality looks throughout the day. We just didn't make a lot of perimeter shots. We had a good start to the second half offensively and that helped us. I didn't anticipate that we would get away from them, I expected the game to be close throughout. Gordon made four huge free throws for us at the end of the game."

Great defense down the stretch saved the Commodores on Saturday. "Coach talks about that all the time once we realized that we had a lot of weapons and that we aren't going to be able to shoot 50 percent from the field. On those nights when things aren't going as well, it's your defense that will pick you up, and fortunately enough for us, we were able to do that tonight. We really feel like we are the best team in the country when it comes to winning games down the stretch. That is probably the most comfortable that we will ever be in the game just because we work on it everyday in practice, we have tremendous confidence in ourselves and our coaches and we go out and get it done," Foster said after the game.

Vandy had a 1-point lead with 18 seconds left after Gordon made a pair of free throws. The Gators would give the ball back to the Commodores on a back court violation when freshman guard Jai Lucas passed the ball to Calathes who had one foot in the front court and one foot in the back court. Gordon would knock down two more free throws to give the Commodores a 3 point lead. The Gators were able to get two good looks at threes on their last possession but were unable to hit either.

Foster led the Commodores in scoring with 19. They also got 12 from both Gordon and freshman center A.J. Ogivly.

The Gators got double digits from Calathes with 11, Marreese Speights with 11 and Hodge with 10. The Commodores have the next week off before facing the Georgia Bulldogs next Saturday at Memorial Gym. That game tips off at 3 p.m.

A.J. Ogilvy blocks (VM/Stan Jones)


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